Evaluating the Impacts of Service Changes for a Mid-Size Transit System: Case Study of Columbia, South Carolina

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) is the transit service provider for the Columbia, SC region. The CMRTA was established in October 2002 as part of the transition of the Columbia bus system from the auspices of a private utility to a publicly-run system. Before its transition to public ownership, the Columbia bus system was the last transit system in the country to be operated by a private utility (South Carolina Electric and Gas Company). The service area of the system is the City of Columbia, with a few routes reaching into other municipalities in Richland and Lexington Counties. The City of Columbia’s current population is 116,278 (Census 2000) Because the utility only maintained transit service at minimal standards, there had been no significant service changes in many years to reflect changing travel patterns. The bus fleet was antiquated and ridership had been steadily declining. As part of the transition to public ownership, a number of changes were made — a new bus fleet was procured, service changes were made, and a fare increase was instituted. The purpose of this paper and presentation is to describe the impacts of and tools used to evaluate these operational changes. Very limited operations data were maintained before the system transition; however, new tools and processes are now in place to evaluate and monitor the changes in ridership resulting from service changes and the fare increase (as well as other improvements such as the new bus fleet). These new evaluation and monitoring mechanisms will be the basis from which to evaluate further service changes as CMRTA develops a long-range plan. This paper and presentation should be beneficial to small and medium-sized transit systems that may not have a multitude of resources or processes from which to evaluate transit service performance.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 10p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 9th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 22-24, 2004, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043958
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 9 2007 1:55PM